Cycling is one of the easiest sports your child will want to indulge in. It is a fun activity that will not only allow them to explore new roads but also help them in mental and physical development. This activity will give them a sense of freedom and excitement that will encourage them to look at life with a new zeal! So encourage your kid to take up cycling and help them go on a new #EverydayAdventure!
What is the perfect age for your child to be able to ride a cycle?
You can introduce your children to the world of cycling when they are between the ages of 2.5 and 3. It depends on your child’s physical and mental development. You also need to ensure that he or she feels comfortable and secure while learning a new activity. Once you have chosen the correct bike for your kid, you need to find the perfect helmet. A helmet is undoubtedly essential. While your kid is learning a new sport, you want to ensure his or her safety at all times. So when you buy a helmet, remember that it should be fit rightly across the middle of the forehead. Not more than 1” above the eyebrows. It should also cover the entire head but not fit too tight or lose. If the head protector moves as your child’s head moves, you should try a different size. As you get a helmet, you might want to consider cycling gloves and knee pads. When you dress your kid for cycling, always make him or her wear shoes and pick clothes that allow movement and are of a comfortable material. Opting for pants over skirts or shorts is always a good idea as it might prevent minor scratches or injuries if your child falls off the bike while learning.
Where to teach your child bike riding?
Choose an area that is traffic-free so you do not have to worry about other vehicles coming in your way. Take your kid to a large ground, a driveway, specific cycling tracks, empty parking lots, etc. Also, prefer flat surfaces. It is best to avoid grooved or uneven roads as it could prevent your child to maintain a proper balance.
How to choose the correct bike for your child?
One of the most important things to consider when you are introducing your child to cycling is to ensure you buy the correct size and type of cycle. Do not buy a bike that is too large thinking he or she will eventually grow into. This could slow down the learning process or overlook the foundation of balancing. To get the correct fit, ask your child to stand over the top tube while keeping both feet on the ground. He or she should be comfortable and should have proper control f the cycle at all times. Primarily, for kids between ages 2 to 5, go for a cycle that has 12” to 14” wheel size. This will ensure that the height of the cycle is not too high, even if you rise the saddle further by a few centimetres, as your kid grows.
How to prepare the bike?
The first step towards training your child for cycling is to emphasize balance first and then teach pedalling. For this, bikes with training wheels work the best. It will enable your child to feel secure as he or she pedals further while giving them an experience of cycling through speed and distance. Once your kid is comfortable with training wheels, it is time to remove them! Next step is to lower the seat. This will allow your children to accustom themselves to sitting upright while maintaining balance. Another precaution to take is to inflate the tyres properly. This bike will roll smoothly, helping your child breeze past! Look out for recommended tyre pressure printed on the sidewalls of the tyre.
How to help them practise pedalling?
- First, have your child sit on the bike and stabilize his balance while keeping his or her feet on the pedals.
- Then ask your child to keep one foot flat on the ground and the other one on the pedal.
- Then train him or her to push the pedal down like doing a scooting action.
- Slowly, ask your child to start pedalling forward while you hold the bike to support his balance.
- Once you feel the confidence in your kid, release your support and let him or her pedal without your assistance.
As your child gets the hang of pedalling without assistance, he/she can practice turns. Encourage kids to cycle in large circles and make figure 8. This will help them understand how to shift weight and apply brakes while turning. You can make this fun in the following ways:
- Set up cones or other objects in a line with equidistant space. Then ask your child to navigate through the spaces so as to form a figure 8.
Once they get better, you can reduce the distance between two cones to help them take sharper and accurate turns.
How to teach them to stop the bike? Your child needs to take control of the cycle and learn proper braking skills, only then he or she will be able to confidently ride a bike. You can teach your kid how to stop on spot in the following ways:
- Place a safety cone 10 to 20 feet ahead from where your child is and ask him or her to stop as they reach the cone.
- You can also try playing the ‘signal game’ where you hold up red and green coloured boards, depicting start and stop instructions. Once your kid is comfortable with the instructions, vary your distance and pace. Once your child is comfortable with braking, you can raise the saddle to the standard position or even slightly higher. To understand the correct height for your child, have him or her sit on the bike with upright back. The saddle should be high enough for your child’s toes to reach the ground.
Tricks to make cycling interesting
Once your child knows how to ride a cycle fairly well, you can join him or her by cycling on your own bike and having your kid follow you.
- Go slow and make big turns so your child can easily follow you. Set a route and take a few trips back and forth without stopping.
- Allow them to focus on balancing and not speed. In fact, you can have a slow-cycling race were the last person to put their feet on the ground wins.
- Always reinforce success rather than focusing on mistakes. Ensure that your child knows when to stop and how to stop.
How to motivate your kid?
Stay Positive and express it
Kids generally get anxious about learning a new sport. So this is one of the most positive steps to take while you teach them how to cycle. Show your support by boosting their morale. The key is to use a benevolent voice and motive them. Use phrases like, “You can do it”, or “Yes, you’re doing a great job”. Keep your instructions clear and specific.
Set realistic expectations
While you tell them how fun the activity is going to be, learning how to ride a bike can be difficult in the beginning. Explain to your kid that even if he or she falls off the bike, it is going to be okay. Acknowledge their fears and show them the reality but ensure that does not lead to a permanent fear.
Set up for success
Ensure your child is prepared for cycling. He or she should be well-fed, energetic and mentally prepared. Also, remember to train him or her on a bike that suits all the requirements.
Set limits and not deadlines
Use a timer and begin at 15 minutes for the first few days. Continue this time limit for 3 or 4 days in a row, then increase the time limit. You can increase or decrease the time limit as per everyone’s comfort. However, do not push your child to learn how to cycle within set days. He or she might be a slow learner or a fast learner. You do not want to pressurize your child.
Encourage your child for positive self-talk
When kids are learning a new activity like cycling, they often give up by saying ‘I can’t’. Here, you have to teach them to be positive about the sport. Ask them to use words like, ‘I’ll try’. It will have a huge impact on how he or she looks at cycling in the future. Encourage your other family members to motivate your child as well.
This is one of the most motivational ways to encourage your child you learn a new activity. Reward your child as he or she picks up new skills at cycling. Take your kid to parks or throw little parties and invite his or her friends over.
Health benefits of cycling for kids
Cycling is beneficial for everyone, no matter their age. However, it has more health benefits for children since they are growing while adapting to a new sport and can further develop an interest in it. It makes them feel independent and adventurous. Take a look at the health benefits:
- It exercises cardiovascular muscles
Cycling is an excellent sport for working out large muscles in the legs. When these muscles are under constant movement, it increases the heart rate in your child’s body, which in turn accelerates the stamina. Cycling not only helps your kid in smooth cardiovascular movements but also keeps a check on his or her weight, helping them attain a fitter body.
It builds muscle mass
Although cycling is known for an exercise for the legs, it strengthens the whole body. Regular cycling will build and strengthen your child’s muscles slowly and steadily. However, if you are worried about stressing your child physically, begin teaching them how to cycle at a slow pace. Kids generally pick up a comfortable pace as they get better at this activity.
It relieves stress
Cycling is an excellent stress buster! If your child has had a hectic day at school and feels drained out by the evening, a little cycling ride will recharge him or her up instantly. It will give an adrenaline boost which will help your child become happier and more energetic. Not just mental stress, but cycling also helps your child calm down from physical exertion as well.
It strengthens emotional health
Cycling boosts your child’s confidence. It helps in enhancing their self-confidence as they begin to cycle independently. It helps them become aware of their body movement and the surroundings, which makes them feel responsible. Cycling will prepare them to become accustomed to the world and environment around them. Hence, they will feel confident at places other than home, without feeling insecure or helpless. Additionally, if you accompany your children for fun rides on the bike, it will add to your family time and will further strengthen your body with each other. It will create wonderful memories for all, creating a positive vibe which your child will relate to, each time he or he goes out cycling.
It enhances socializing skills
This activity will help your child socialize with people and children in your neighbourhood. It will enhance his or her communication skills, giving them an opportunity to make friends, discuss their own little lives and plan little events! Cycling sparks joy and cycling with friends will enhance it!
It keeps them active
Today, children spend most of their time playing indoor virtual games or using gadgets that keep them indoors, leading them to be lethargic and inactive. This could lead to a lot of problems like obesity or social anxiety. Hence, indulge them in cycling. It is one of the best activities that take care of their mental, emotional and physical health.
It energises them holistically
Cycling helps in balancing children completely. Take a look at how it can help them holistically:
- Children step out of their homes into direct sunlight for cycling. This will expose them to a natural source of Vitamin D, which is from the sunlight. They will breathe in the fresh air which will rejuvenate them. It will also help them calm down and sleep better.
- As they indulge in cycling frequently, they will lose the gadget dependency. The more they cycle, the less they will want to play indoor VR games or watch TV.
- Stepping out of home, cycling and exploring the neighbourhood will help them gain more confidence and add to their body balance and coordination.
- They will learn about their surroundings and about people-in-general as they cycling frequently. This will help enhance their social communication and behaviour skills.
- They will perform better at school or other activities as cycling will energise them, adding a new zeal to their life.
Safety tips to keep in mind
Cycling has a lot of benefits and is one of the most enjoyable sports in the world. However, when you teach your kid how to ride a bike, there are some safety tips to keep in mind. These guidelines need to be followed to avoid any mishaps or accidents. Take a look at them.
- Most cycles are designed based on International Standard Quality. Ensure you choose the right cycle for your child, based on his or her height and requirements. If your child is a beginner, it is always recommended to get a bike which has stabilizer wheels.
- Ensure your child wears a helmet at all times while he or she is cycling.
- When your child is learning how to ride, he or she might end up bruising the knees or elbows. However, this should not stop you from teaching them how to cycle. You can bring them kneepads to protect their body or be extra cautious in terms of safety. But falling off the bike is a part of the learning process and will help your child become more independent in future.
- Ensure that the cycle is serviced regularly. It will function at its best, allowing a smooth cycling experience for your child.
- Familiarize your child with all the parts of his or her bicycle. They should be aware of the function of each bike part and the various problems they can have. Give them tips about how to handle themselves with the cycle in cases of emergencies. These tips are essential and come handy when your child has gone out cycling without your assistance.
- Teach your child traffic rules and how to look out for other vehicles around him or her. Explain to them directions and how they can indicate their way to other vehicles.
- Last and most important point to remember is that you ensure your child knows how to cycle before allowing him or her to ride in your neighbourhood without your assistance.
Thus, now that you have the complete guide as to how you can help your child learn cycling, get started with it! If you are looking for the perfect cycle for your kids, check out our kids' range here. We wish you and your child all the very best at acquiring this exciting new sport.